Does the "Grüner Knopf" deliver on its promise?

Spotlight on the “Grüner Knopf’s” ‘company criteria’

The Green Button sustainability label, a German government textile certification, sells itself with the slogan “socially sound; environmentally sound; government-run; independently certified”. Yet the label’s criteria and audits are not sufficiently rigorous. As a result, the label graces products produced by companies that do not provide sufficient guarantees in relation to compliance with human rights.

In addition to meeting product criteria, to obtain the certification companies must prove that they carry out human rights due diligence, identify risks and take appropriate measures to mitigate them, and disclose information on this process. This investigation analysed the public disclosures of 31 companies. It found that, in the form currently implemented, the Green Button label falls significantly short of the requirements on public disclosure contained in the OECD Guidelines. Companies should not receive recognition in the form of a government certification for abstract communication on risks and mitigation measures or for providing information that is not specific to their supply chains. To avoid the risk of promoting superficial disclosure on due diligence, in its role as certifier the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) should make active improvements.